MISSOULA - The search for Missoula’s new mayor is finally over.
Jordan Hess will serve in the post following more than 20 votes that stretched late into Monday night.
It was a stalemate for most of the evening with both Hess and Mike Nugent close in the vote.
Following two hours of voting with no winner Missoula City Council members left together through a literal back door, deliberating in an alley for more than an hour.
Once they returned, Nugent gave a tearful concession saying that "Hess will be a great mayor."
Hess — who is Missoula’s longest-serving council member — said after the vote that he believes that as mayor, government can be a positive force in citizens’ lives.
I want to be accessible, I want to make government accessible in the community. I think many people have a negative view of government because they have to go to the DMV or go do some mundane task. I’m really interested in being service oriented and engaging with and communicating with the public about the services the city offers. - Jordan Hess
Hess will be sworn in as the new mayor as the state-mandated 30-day vacancy deadline is looming. Hess must run for the office in the next municipal election, in November 2023. If he wins, he'll finish Engen's term, which expires in 2025.
Hess told our news partners at the Missoula Current he hasn't committed to running at this time but said he would look to his supporters for guidance and look to those who didn't support him as he works to win their respect.
Hess replaces John Engen died of pancreatic cancer last month.
- information from James Dobson